If you’re like most people, the sound of the word “audit” makes you cringe. There’s no way to avoid immediately associating it with unpleasant experiences like tax audits, and other scary and unwelcoming practices.
Luckily, blog post audits don’t have to be painful. While tax audits may be uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing, blog post audits are a useful tool that can help you assess how well your blog is performing, and what you can do to make it function better.
The concept of blog audits may sound intimidating. In reality it’s a simple process that virtually anyone can learn without much effort. More importantly, this simple practice can be critical to ensure your blog content gets the attention it deserves.
Why are Blog Post Audits Important?
Think of a blog post audit as spring cleaning you should do a few times a year. Alternatively, you can conduct this audit on each piece of content before it is posted live to your website.
During this process, you run through each of the posts on your blog and evaluate them for metrics like engagement, shares, clicks, accuracy, and relevance. If the blog doesn’t live up to your expectations for any of these metrics, you either alter it, remove it, or update it.
In doing this, you will keep your blog fresh and relevant, ensuring that any content not valuable for your company or your readers is removed and replaced with material that serves more of a purpose. This, in turn, allows your content to enjoy more reach and allows you to better cater to your customers.
While every website owner should conduct this analysis regularly, audits are particularly useful for anyone who is in the midst of a site redesign or a re-branding. They’re also ideal for companies that are growing at a fast rate and want to make sure that the content on their blog is keeping up accordingly.
How to Conduct a Blog Post Audit on Your Site
Regardless of whether you’ve conducted thousands of blog post reviews and are just looking to streamline your process, or you’ve never so much as heard of the concept before, these simple steps make auditing your blog content easier than ever before:
1. Organize All Of Your Blog Content In A Spreadsheet
As it goes for many complex tasks, a blog post audit begins with a well-organized spreadsheet. Use a program like Excel or Google Drive for this, and create a spreadsheet that features columns for the following information:
- Blog URL
- Date the blog was last audited
- Yoast plugin
- Internal links
This spreadsheet serves two purposes. In addition to keeping you organized, it also makes it easy to see all of your blog content at a glance, and decide what’s working and what’s not.
2. Input All Of Your Post URLs
The next step in your blog content audit is to pull all of the URLs for your blog posts. If you use a user-friendly content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, this is easy to do by viewing the list of all of your posts/pages. You can then copy the link address for each. Once you’ve done this, paste each URL into the spreadsheet column.
3. Evaluate Your Permalinks For Each Post
The next step in the blog audit process is to evaluate your permalinks. If you’re not familiar with what a permalink is, it’s everything that comes after the .com/ portion of your URL.
When evaluating your permalinks, ensure each meets the following requirements:
- Permalinks are 65 characters or less
- Each permalink is unique to a particular page, rather than being copied or duplicated
- All permalinks use target keywords
- Each permalink is text only, and each word is separated by a dash
If your permalinks meet all of the above criteria – great! If not, you’ll have to alter the permalink to comply, which can be a little tricky.
Keep in mind that changing a live permalink will disrupt the link pointing toward the page, so you’ll need to orchestrate a 301 redirect for any pages whose permalink you alter.
Once you’ve finished, input any relevant permalink data into your spreadsheet in the given column.
4. Check Out Your Yoast Plugin Scores
If you use WordPress, and you have the Yoast plugin for SEO, now is the time to evaluate the Yoast score for each post. This is a very simple step. To execute it, just scroll to the bottom of each post’s page in your dashboard and evaluate the optimization score according to Yoast. Input this data into your spreadsheet.
Remember that content is much stronger when every light is green. If you have some components of your Yoast score that are getting red or yellow lights, take some time to make the needed changes now.
In addition to helping your content rank better, updating these things also makes it more readable and valuable for users.
5. Evaluate Your Posts’ Alt Tags
Once you’ve looked through your Yoast scores and permalink info, it’s time to turn attention to the alt-tags of your content. Alt-tags are an important component of on-page SEO. While Google is an amazingly intelligent search engine, its crawler bots aren’t capable of interpreting images (yet).
Alt-tags serve the purpose of strengthening your content by providing information that allows Google’s crawlers to understand your images, and thus rank your page more prominently. Because of this, it’s essential that your alt-tags are in-place, optimized, and functioning the way they should.
As a general rule, each alt-tag should fulfill the following requirements:
- All alt-tags should describe the image accurately
- Each alt-tag should make use of relevant long-tail keywords
- Every image should have an alt-tag
Once you’ve evaluated, altered, and adjusted your alt-tags, input this information into the spreadsheet column for the corresponding URL.
6. Appraise Your Blog Content As A Whole
The last step of a blog post audit is to evaluate your content as a whole. While the different elements of your content are important for rankings and online visibility, none of these things are worth much if your content itself is unreadable, disorganized, or uninteresting.
With this in mind, navigate to the body content of a given post. Once you’re there, check for the following things:
- Each post should be broken up so that it is easy to navigate and skim.
- Each post should be free of spelling/grammar errors. Read through it to make sure, and consider installing a comprehensive spelling and grammar checker such as Grammarly, to be safe.
- Ensure that each post on your blog incorporates long-tail keywords naturally throughout the text.
- Check the keyword density and make sure it’s within a good range, rather than being too frequent or infrequent, both of which can harm your SEO rankings.
- Check that your content utilizes headers, subheaders, lists, bullets, and short paragraphs for increased readability.
7. Repeat This Process For Every Post On Your Site
Now that you’ve made it through all of the steps repeat this process for each page on your site. Input all of the data into the spreadsheet to stay organized.
While this may seem like lots of work at first, you’ll soon fall into a rhythm, and your blog post audit will be over before you know it.
How Often Should You Audit Blog Content?
While there is no hard-and-fast rule for how often you should conduct content audits, most professionals recommend undertaking the process at least 3-4 times each year, if not each time you create a new blog post.
In addition to the fact that this helps you keep your content fresh and functional, frequent audits also cut down on the amount of work you’ll do in any given inspection, making the entire process easier and more streamlined throughout.
You may be able to get away with fewer content audits if you don’t publish many blogs, but as your content level increases, your blog post audits will need to, as well.
The Case For Regular Blog Post Audits
As your site or readership begins to grow, blog post audits are essential for ranking well, providing valuable content, and evaluating which of your posts are the most engaging and relevant. They’re also essential for staying in touch with your content and ensuring that all of the hard work you put into your content creation and distribution strategy is paying off.
While many marketers neglect blog post audits on the assumption that they’re too time-consuming or labor-intensive, people who develop an organized strategy for attacking blog post audits are well-equipped to execute them quickly and easily.
Keep in mind that, as your business grows, it’s possible you’ll need help managing and auditing your blog. When this time comes, Thrive Internet Marketing is here to help.
Your full-service source for content development, blog management, and all digital marketing services, Thrive Internet Marketing is your partner in upward growth and success.